The report was released last week at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business by Dr Henry Bailey, economist and lecturer at the business school, who led the study in which an Adult Population Survey interviewed 2004 adults about their attitudes to entrepreneurship.
He was assisted by a team including Professor Miguel Carrillo, Executive Director and Professor of Strategy at the business school, Gerard Pemberton, a consultant, Dr Henry Bailey, Marvin Pacheco and Stephanie Lezama- Rogers.
Bailey said that historically a quarter of the entrepreneurs in Trinidad and Tobago were university educated but in the 2014 study this had dropped to 24 percent and although it was just a slight fall he felt it needed to be researched.
He said that the study found that there had been a decline in entrepreneurship among persons with Masters degrees as well as vocational backgrounds and all post secondary non-tertiary education.
This meant that only persons with secondary school education were taking up entrepreneurship as a field of activity. He said there needed to be further study to find out what is drawing people with university degrees away from entrepreneurial activity.
In addition to the Adult Population Survey, Bailey said the study conducted a National Expert Survey involving 36 experts in a range of disciplines who asked questions about the entrepreneurial environment.
These experts found that almost half of the country’s entrepreneurs have a secondry level education but observed that most of the entrepreneurial training is administered at the tertiary level so it is not reaching the group most likely to be interested in entrepreneurial activity. Although he observed that entrepreneurship is now being taught at CAPE level, he said it was significant that there was no use of new technology in early stage entrepreneurial activity.
Overwhelmingly, the products and services introduced to the market by new entrepreneurial firms were not new to the customers.
In fact, according to the report, Trinidad and Tobago was ranked the lowest in Latin America where the use of technology in entrepreneurial activity is concerned and Bailey said this was the case year after year. So far the study has completed five reports for the years 2010 to 2014 on this country’s entrepreneurial sector.
Bailey said entrepreneurs in this country do not do well on Research and Development transfer – the ability to convert a scientific idea into a small business. He said the National Expert Survey had found a decline in the transfer of knowledge from universities to new products three years in a row